I’m sitting in a beautiful little spot in Chechaouen with most of the ladies on the tour. Its a free day and its overcast so we are lounging like ladies should. I settled in to take some time and update my notes and true to my typical self, I can’t remember what we’ve done or where we’ve been so I have polled the group and we have figured out the last few days. I will try to relate what has happened.
First though, reflections of tour travel.
I haven’t been on a tour since….um…..since back …..um….ok I think the last tour I was on was 1998 when I went to Greece with Carrie Dick. All of my recent travels have been cobbled together by Expedia and Yuki, and David. And me. So being on a tour is an interesting experience. While sometimes I love it, I also sometimes hate it. Mostly I love it, here. I would not go on a tour in Europe. I know I wouldn’t. But in Morocco it’s the only way I would be able to get around. Until I move here and marry a beautiful and funny Moroccan. But that’s for later.
One of the highlights of this trip was our arrival and survival in Casablanca. We landed and had to make our way around. We went were we wanted. We got our phones set up and bartered for taxis (thanks Laura!) (I think) and we found our way to Jennifer and got wonderfully lost on the way. The sense of culture and observation and ACCOMPLISHMENT were so wonderful. Elating. True to my heart and the best part of traveling. The best part of life in fact is facing a problem and figuring it out. I often base my choice of friends on people who are willing to just figure things out and people who don’t. If you are reading this and don’t understand that sentence you are probably not a friend of mine.
So tour positives. Its a lazy wat to travel. We don’t have to figure out the systems, the timetables, the directions (although Mustapha often doesn’t know left from right so you gotta be a little vigilant). We have help with the language. We have a helping hand if we get into trouble. We can’t get lost. We have our plan set. We have transport provided. We are taken care of and we are cared for. Mustapha is very accommodating and very protective. It brings a sense of peace.
We are traveling with a native Berber. During long trips and dinners and evenings we learn about Islam, Islamic culture, history, and what its like to live here and be raised in the desert. More on that later but the value of that knowledge is an unbelievable bonus. Thanks Mustapha. From the bottom of my newly opened heart.
Another positive is that we are seeing a lot. Because we are traveling with Intrepid we are in a small group and we seem to get into places before the large “tour” groups. We are taken to very local, down and dirty locations. I appreciate that. A lot.
Negatives : the pace is fast. Its full. Its a whole lot of sights in a short period of time. If you are tired or sore or sick you slog on with the group. You eat when and where the group eats and its tiring as hell. But today we rest and I’m so happy about that. Its come at a really good time. We need a rest. Many of the others are sick. Laura and I just need to pace ourselves. We have a whole long way to go and I can’t wait. But…..first we rest.